WORCESTER, Mass. -- All done here at the DCU Center, where we've crowned six MIAA basketball state champions.
Here's how it went down:
Lee shook the Spartans in the second half with a relentless pressing, forcing a total of 22 turnovers in the game. But in the end, the size advantage was too much to overcome for the Wildcats, especially with 6-foot-2 Tori Faieta and 5-foot-11 Cassi Amenta in the middle. Faieta ended up with a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds, five assists), while Amenta and Kirsten Ferrari both had 16 points to lead St. Mary's. Freshman Brianna Rudolph also netted 11 points. Lee was led in scoring by sophomore Eileen Dooley, who had 14 points.
The Spartans controlled the boards in the first half, 11-5, behind their twin towers of Cassi Amenta (10 points) and Tori Faieta (six). After jumping out to a double-digit lead early in the first half, the Wildcats came alive with their famed press, forcing some turnovers and eventually cutting the lead to 19-16 at one point. But the Spartans closed out the half with a 14-4 run to take control of this one. Stephanie Young, Tara Dooley and Camryn Biasin each have four points to lead Lee.
WC survived a late surge by Watertown in the final minutes. The Raiders had cut the lead to 30 at one point in the final frame, but WC got back on top by four and forced Watertown to foul. It made crucial free throws when it needed to down the stretch, making them the Division 3 Boys State Champion. Taylor Bajema led the Crusaders with 14 points, while Hans Miersma and Colin Richey each added 12. Miersma also had 14 rebounds. Marco Coppola and Cory Donahue each had 15 points to lead Watertown, the latter getting all his points on three's.
WC held a 37-27 advantage on the boards, despite committing 22 turnovers. Watertown was a miserable 6 for 39 from three-point range, and 5 for 15 on two's.
Watertown came out of the gates flying, opening with a 9-2 run all on three-pointers, including two from Cory Donahue. Marco Coppola has left his Raiders teammates with plenty of open shots on the perimeter, but it's the Crusaders at the other end that have really turned this game into a chess match. Donahue leads Watertown with nine points, while star Marco Coppola has just four, including an 0 for 4 mark from three-point range. Overall, the Raiders were just 3 for 17 from three's in the first half, including 0 for 9 in the second quarter. Taylor Bajema leads WC at the break with seven points, while big man Hans Miersma has five points and eight rebounds.
Give it up for the Catholic Central Large. AC didn't relent at all on its halftime lead, and only allowed three Woolies field goals to take a 44-16 lead into the final frame, outscoring them 20-6 in the third.
Millbury opened the game with a 7-2 run, leading 7-5 after the first quarter, and then went over eight minutes without a field goal. All the while, AC outscored the Woolies 19-3 in the second quarter. Emma Roberson leads all scorers with 10 points and five rebounds for AC, while Erin Nee added six points and Erin Klein also had four rebounds. Julie Frankian leads Millbury with four points and four rebonds, while Megan Crain has three and five. Millbury shot a dismal 3 for 20 from the field, while AC shot 9 for 29. Millbury had eight turnovers in the second quarter, and 12 for the half, while AC had just seven.
Mission dominated the second half before giving way to the benches, getting solid production from its three-headed backcourt monster of Kachi Nzerem (15 points), Samir McDaniels (16) and Darius Davis (17), while Isshiah Coleman and Charles Gunther asserted themselves on the boards. Northbridge was led in scoring by Corey Pryor (17 points), while Jake Ratcliffe (11) and Harrison Murphy (10) also scored in double-figures.
Mission brought some serious momentum into the half, thanks to a Kachi Nzerem dunk and Samir McDaniels three-pointer from the left wing. The Titans shot 15 of 29 from the field, led by McDaniels, Nzerem (nine points) and Darius Davis (11), while Northbridge went 6 for 20. Corey Pryor leads the Rams at the break with 11 points.
Andover outscored Amherst 36-28 in the second half, as the Golden Warriors defeated Hurricanes 61-51 in the Division I state championship. Junior guard Nicole Boudreau led her team with 18 points while sophomore guard Devon Caveney recorded 14 points. Amherst was led in scoring by Brianna Leonard (16 points), Kristen Ferola (11) and junior power forward Forbasaw Nkambo (15 points, 18 rebounds).
Early on in the contest, the Hurricanes were giving the Warriors everything they could handle, including crisp entry passes to Nkambo right at the rim, which she was able to tip in easily for the most part. Lacking the size to hang in the frontcourt with Amherst, the Warriors relied on speed, often pressuring at halfcourt to hurry up possessions. It paid off in the final frame. During the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, Amherst seemed unable to stop Andover's offense. Overall, they were outscored 16-6 in the final frame.
St. John’s Prep took an early lead and never looked back, as the Eagles soared to victory against St. John’s of Shrewsbury, 72-57, as well as captured the MIAA Division I state championship.
The Eagles appeared too much for the Pioneers from the start, as they attacked the basket constantly, played fundamental team basketball, but also, limited the Pioneers to only one shot on a majority of their offensive series.
Senior forward Pat Connaughton scored 25 points, as well as connected on seven of eight shots from the free throw line. Eagles junior forward Steve Haladyna led the Eagles with 29 points while senior guard Owen Marchetti added an additional eight points.
Entering the second quarter, the Eagles jumped out to a quick 7-0 run and kept extending the score, which practically solidified the victory. The Pioneers though did score a few quick baskets during the third and fourth quarter and came within 16 points, but were unable to get any closer.
The Pioneers were led by senior forward Richard Rodgers, who scored 26 points, as well as connected on five of his six shots from the free throws. Senior guard Matt Harrington added 17 points and hit three three-pointers and junior center Matt Palecki scored 10 points and hit both of his free throw shots.